Walk the Plank On the Horizon – vox (Christina Dalcher)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi dystopian eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

vox (Christina Dalcher)

Title: vox

Author: Christina Dalcher

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Publication Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2018! (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0440000785

Source: NetGalley

So I seem to be in the minority again.  This book irked me.  The premise is that a misogynistic bunch of males has taken over the government and women have become second class citizens.  Restrictions include, but are not limited to- no jobs, no financial control, no access to books, no passports, and no real use of language.  It’s the last limitation that made me want to read this book.

The statistic in the blurb claims that the is that the average person currently speaks 16,000 words a day.  In this book the woman can only speak 100 words a day.  To enforce this quota, all women are equipped with sensors around their wrists.  Go over the limit and ye get an electric shock.  And it isn’t mild.  With every misbehavior, the force and duration of the punishments only increase.

The concepts behind limited women’s speech were fascinating.  In particular the relationship between the main character, Jean, and her youngest child, a girl, was the most poignant part of the novel.  The consequences for a generation of girls brought up without the skills of reading and the outlet of speaking were harrowing.

But unfortunately the expression of the novel’s concepts and the impact of its message were completely filtered down by the awkward execution of this novel.  Some of the problems:

  • unlikable protagonist – Jean is supposed to be smart and intelligent.  She holds a PhD and was about to make a major achievement in treating the problems of language malfunction in stroke patients.  And yet throughout the book she was whiny, unfocused, clueless, and meek.  It made sense for the beginning of the novel but she never really became a strong force.
  • unrealistic and unneeded plot elements – So much of this book felt unreal.  Subplots about animal testing that were unnecessary.  Brand-new drugs working the first and only time on a human subject.  Multiple characters important to Jean that happen to be conveniently in a cell and rescued at a critical moment.  No cameras or recording devices in any place that seems rational.  Escalation of a bio-terrorist threat that literally makes NO SENSE and would hurt the bad people just as much as the others.
  • too tied to current events – This book seemed to bash the reader over the head with it’s lack of subtlety.  I am extremely liberal and yet this book seemed to be a political soapbox for hatred of the current regime.  I feel it would have had more force if set in slightly more distant future.
  • the muddled message – The theme seems to be a call for women to be active in politics.  And yet it lambastes any woman who doesn’t follow a certain type of political activism.  It doesn’t even seem to want women to have individuality of their own.  Fie on any woman who wants to be a stay-at-home mom.  Fie on any woman who doesn’t attend political rallies and march the streets.  Fie on any woman that is a Christian.  I do believe that all people should vote.  But this seems to suggest if ye aren’t a rabid fanatic about yer politics then ye are useless.  I get that a passive approach to horrible behavior can allow that behavior to flourish.  Think the Nazis.  But there are many different types of activism and legitimate lifestyles.
  • lackluster ending – What a crock.  For a book to be about women power, a man is needed to bring down the regime.  Then the main character runs to another country and doesn’t even stay to help mitigate and direct the consequences of her actions.  She is basically a coward through and through.  She is always being selfish and really never cared about the greater good.

It’s been compared to the Handmaid’s Tale.  Skip this one and read that one instead.  This book was a muddled mess  and therefore must walk the plank!  The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic for a reason.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Berkley Publishing Group!

Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end. 

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Christina Dalcher – Author

To buy the novel go to:

vox – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

21 thoughts on “Walk the Plank On the Horizon – vox (Christina Dalcher)

  1. Urg… I had been quite excited about getting hold of this one – but thanks to your excellent review, I’ll pass. I am allergic to heavy-handed polemics in sci fi books and LOATHE it when I feel the buildup to the main premise has been fudged. As for a man causing the overthrow of a society that robs women of their voice – REALLY??? Thank you – this review has saved my rather high blood pressure from climbing higher!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well matey I am glad I could save ye some time. Everyone seems to have no problems with these elements that made me crazy. I think they bought the trick pony premise of limited language. Which is cool. But it seems that the majority of books with this premise immediately come up with a less than stellar reason for why the protagonist is the exception. And then doesn’t USE the point. The book actually has the president go on tv and tell the world why she is the exception. I mean seriously, the government would hide that! There whole point is that men have to rule because women are incapable. Sigh. This book might give me high blood pressure if I keep going. It annoys me that this book makes me angry.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t just take me word for it. I have seen one negative review besides mine and all the others are positive. So while I believe me viewpoint is valid (Arrr!) this is one of those that everyone else seems to love. Ye could be one of them.
      x The Captain


      1. ARCs will do that! It’s one reason I stopped putting my name in for the LibraryThing Early Review copies — I felt I had to prioritize those books over everything no matter what. It felt too much like work. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not only that but there was a huge backlog of books that I had requested but never heard about. Some of those are now being approved. I feel like I am drowning. It is one reason I stopped taking independent requests this year.
        x The Captain


      3. I don’t blame you! I was a part of a blog group at one point that focused on a different book every month, and it was exhausting to keep up with it. Yes, I blog regularly and I do weekly MEMEs. But I choose topics I like, and I feel no obligation to do it if I don’t want to. So I completely understand where you’re coming from.

        Liked by 1 person

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